Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy
Table of Contents
I. Opening Statement and Purpose
II. Scope of Policy
III. Title IX and Nondiscrimination
IV. Retaliation and False Accusations
V. Time Considerations for Reporting and Filing Claims of Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct
VI. Amnesty for Violations of the College's Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use Policies to Individuals Who Report Incidents of Sexual Misconduct
VII. Available Resources and Recommended Immediate Steps Following An Incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination and/or Sexual Misconduct
VIII. Procedures for Reporting Incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct
IX. Procedures for Filing a Claim of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct
X. Confidentiality and Anonymous Reporting or Filing
XI. Interim and Remedial Measures
XII. Selection and Use of Advisors and Supporters
XIII. Student Claimant and Respondent Protections Under This Policy
XIV. Procedures for Investigating Reports and Claims
XV. Informal Resolution Conference For Students
XVI. Formal Resolution Hearing - For Students
XVII. Sanctions For Students
XVIII. Student Appeals
XIX. Sanctions - For Faculty and Staff
Rhodes is committed to ensuring a safe learning environment that supports the dignity of all members of the Rhodes community. Rhodes does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in any of its education or employment programs and activities. To that end, this policy prohibits specific forms of behavior that violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and which are antithetical to the educational mission of Rhodes.
Rhodes will not tolerate sexual misconduct, which is prohibited, and which includes, but is not limited to, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, and stalking. Rhodes further strongly encourages members of the Rhodes community to report instances of sexual misconduct immediately. These policies and procedures are intended to ensure that all parties involved receive appropriate support and fair treatment, and that allegations of sexual misconduct are handled in a prompt, thorough and equitable manner.
All relevant terms are defined here.
Maintaining an atmosphere of free inquiry is crucial to the teaching and research mission of the College. This policy is not intended to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside of the classroom that include controversial or sensitive subject matters protected by academic freedom. Academic freedom extends to topics that are pedagogically appropriate and germane to the subject matter of courses or that touch on academic exploration of matters of public concern.
Rhodes will review, evaluate, and make any revisions or amendments to this policy on an ongoing and as-needed basis.
A. Scope. This policy applies to all Rhodes community members, including students, faculty, administrators, staff, and any individuals regularly or temporarily employed, studying, living, visiting, conducting business or having any official capacity with the College or on College property.
This policy is intended to protect and guide individuals who have been affected by sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct (as defined below), whether as a Claimant, a Respondent, or as a witness, and to provide fair and equitable procedures for investigation and resolution of reports and Claims.
B. Overview of policy and certain key definitions. Rhodes will investigate all reports it receives of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct, and Rhodes is authorized to take certain actions to address or remedy sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct after receiving a report, during an investigation, and after an investigation even if the matter does not proceed to a Formal Resolution Hearing.
Anyone can report incidents of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct to Rhodes under the procedure described in Section VIII of this policy. For example, a "Reporter" can be any individual who reports to Rhodes that they are a victim or survivor of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct; that they have been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, or that they have knowledge of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else.
A report can become a "Claim" if (1) a reporting individual (a Reporter) files a written document with the Title IX Coordinator describing an incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct and indicating that they want the College to take further steps beyond the investigation, such as holding a Formal Resolution Hearing (as described in Section IX of this policy) to resolve the alleged issue, or (2) Rhodes determines that, in order to meet its Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community, it must take further steps beyond the investigation, such as holding a Formal Resolution Hearing.
A "Claimant" refers to an individual who has been subjected to an incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct (i.e., a victim or survivor or someone who has otherwise been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct) that proceeds to a Claim. A Claimant has certain rights under this policy, as discussed below. A Reporter who reports witnessing sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else can file a report and request that it be treated as a Claim, but that does not make them a Claimant.
A "Respondent" refers to an individual who has been accused of prohibited conduct under this policy. A Respondent has certain rights under this policy, as discussed below.
A "third party" refers to any other participant in the process, including a witness to the incident or an individual who makes a report on behalf of someone else.
Additional definitions are contained in Section XX at the end of this policy.
C. Jurisdiction. All Rhodes College community members are required to follow College policies and local, state, and federal law. This policy applies to all members of the Rhodes community and applies to conduct occurring on Rhodes College property; at College-sanctioned events or programs that take place off campus, including, for example, study abroad and internship programs; or at events or programs hosted by College-recognized organizations that take place off campus. This policy may apply regardless of the location of the incident if it is likely to have a substantial adverse effect on, or poses a threat of danger to, the educational opportunities provided by Rhodes College.
The College encourages anyone who has witnessed or experienced an incident of sexual misconduct or sex/gender discrimination to report it regardless of where the incident occurred, or who committed it. Even if the College does not have jurisdiction over the Respondent, the College may take prompt action to provide for the safety and well-being of any affected person and the broader College community.
D. Application of policy. This policy, as amended and implemented on July 1, 2016, shall apply to all reports received after July 1, 2016, regardless of the date of the alleged incident. It shall not apply to cases pending prior to July 1, 2016, as the prior iteration of this policy shall apply to those cases.
Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Title IX prohibits use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and provides individuals effective protection against such practices. Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of federally funded education programs and activities. In addition to traditional education institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools, Title IX also applies to any education or training program operated by a recipient of federal financial assistance.
Consistent with Title IX, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and any related federal, state, and local laws, Rhodes prohibits all unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation in any employment decision, education program or educational activity. This policy applies to all members of the Rhodes community as defined above.
As part of its commitment to maintaining a community free of discrimination, and in compliance with Title IX’s mandate, Rhodes College will address allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment in a timely and effective way, provide resources as needed for affected persons (Claimants, Respondents and third parties within the Rhodes Community), and not tolerate retaliation against any person who reports sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct.
Rhodes, through the Title IX Coordinator and any Deputy Title IX Coordinator or other designee, have jurisdiction over and the authority to receive, investigate, hear and resolve reports and/or Claims brought by any member of the Rhodes Community that invoke Title IX. The Title IX Coordinator is ultimately authorized to enact procedures that include specific instructions for reporting, investigating and resolving Title IX Claims and reports. As used throughout this policy, references to the Title IX Coordinator shall include any Deputy Title IX Coordinator and any other person expressly designated by the Title IX Coordinator to act on their behalf.
Any individual designated by Rhodes to have the authority to address or duty to report alleged sex/gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and/or retaliation and who fails to report such conduct may be subjected to sanctions by the College.
General inquiries about the application of Title IX should be directed to the College's Title IX Coordinator via TitleIX@Rhodes.edu. Further information about Rhodes’ Title IX Coordinator can be found on Rhodes’ website http://handbook.rhodes.edu/title-ix.
Inquiries about the application of Title IX also can be directed to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Rhodes College expressly prohibits retaliation against anyone who: 1) in good faith, reports what they believe is discrimination or sexual misconduct, 2) participates in any investigation or proceeding under this policy, or 3) opposes conduct that they believe to violate this policy. Retaliation includes intimidation, harassment, threats, or other adverse action or speech against the person who reported the misconduct, the parties, and their witnesses. Consistent with FERPA’s prohibition on re-disclosure of confidential information, parties, witnesses, advisors and supporters are prohibited from using or disclosing other people’s confidential information, learned as a result of participation in any investigation or proceeding under this policy, outside of such forums without express consent or for any improper purpose. Rhodes will not only take steps to prevent retaliation, but it will also take strong corrective action if it occurs.
Anyone who believes they have been the victim of retaliation should immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator. Any individual found to have retaliated against another individual will be in violation of this policy and will be subject to disciplinary action.
Anyone who knowingly makes a false accusation of unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation of any form will be subject to an investigation for a potential violation of this policy and may be subject to disciplinary action.
V. Time Considerations for Reporting and Filing Claims of Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct
There is no time limit for reporting incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct under this policy, although Rhodes encourages reports to be made as soon as possible. Any individual who has been subjected to, or who knows of or has witnessed, an incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct is encouraged to report the incident or file a Claim immediately in order to maximize the College's ability to obtain information and conduct an adequate, thorough, prompt, and impartial investigation into the incident. Failure to promptly report alleged Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct may result in the loss of relevant information, evidence, and reliable witness testimony, and may impair the College's ability to fully investigate the incident. If an individual wishes to file a claim with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, they must do so within 180 days of the incident based on the time limits for adjudication set by that agency.
Rhodes strongly encourages individuals who have been involved in, or who know of, or have witnessed, incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct to report such incidents as soon as possible. The College recognizes that students involved (e.g. as witnesses, bystanders, third parties, or claimants) who have violated the college’s drug and alcohol policy may be hesitant to report out of fear of sanction. Therefore, in order to encourage reporting in all situations, anyone who reports or experiences Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct may be granted amnesty for any violation of the College’s drug and alcohol policy that occurred in connection with the reported incident. Rhodes intends to grant amnesty for all but the most egregious violations of the College’s drug and alcohol policy; however, individuals may be provided with resources on drug and alcohol counseling and/or education, as appropriate.
VII. Available Resources and Recommended Immediate Steps Following An Incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination and/or Sexual Misconduct
Any individual who has been subjected to, or who knows of or has witnessed, an incident of Sexual Violence or Assault is encouraged to follow these steps immediately following the occurrence:
- Get to a safe place immediately and call someone you trust.
- If sexual contact and/or penetration occurred, do not wash, shower, bathe, use the toilet or change clothing. Preserve any evidence as would be necessary to prove the offense, or in obtaining a protective order, restraining order, and/or no-contact order. Examples of such evidence include:
- Clothing worn during the incident, including but not limited to undergarments;
- Sheets, bedding, and condoms, if used;
- A list of witnesses with contact information;
- Text messages, emails, call history, and digital media posts; and
- Pictures of any injuries.
- You are encouraged to call the appropriate law enforcement agency. To contact Memphis Police Department Sex Crimes Squad, call (901) 636-3330. Rhodes College Campus Safety, (901) 843-3880, can assist any student with reporting a crime to the Memphis Police Department.
- Get medical attention. Campus Safety will assist you in calling Emergency Medical Services (911) if you ask them to. The College also encourages you to go, or have someone else take you, directly to a medical facility or medical provider of your choice. Any medical provider should be instructed to collect and preserve relevant evidence, or if they are not experienced in doing so themselves, to contact the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at (901) 222-4350. For additional off-campus medical services, contact the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at (901) 222-4350.
- The College will assist an individual who has been subjected to, who knows of, or who has witnessed an incident of Sexual Misconduct in obtaining the services of counseling professionals, if requested. The College encourages you to seek support services. For on-campus student counseling services, contact the Counseling Center at (901) 843-3128. For off-campus counseling and advocacy services, contact the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at (901) 222-4350. The College will provide as much assistance as possible but cannot assume financial responsibility for such services.
- All members of the campus community are encouraged to seek resources and support related to sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct proceedings, including Respondents, witnesses and bystanders. For example, members of Rhodes’ SMART team are trained to serve as Advisors for Respondents. For more information, see Rhodes’ Title IX website at http://handbook.rhodes.edu/title-ix.
A. Options for Reporting to Rhodes Under This Policy. Anyone can report an incident of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct to Rhodes. A report can be made by any individual who is a victim or survivor of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, who has been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, or who has knowledge of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else. A report may be made anonymously (see Section X). Rhodes will investigate all reports and may implement remedial steps as needed, but that does not mean every report will become a Claim or that the College will pursue a formal resolution. The College strongly encourages all individuals to report incidents of sexual misconduct and sex/gender discrimination even if the individual does not intend to pursue a Claim.
In order to make a report, a reporting individual may do one or more of the following:
1. Report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator via TitleIX@rhodes.edu. Reporters are encouraged, but not required, to direct their reports to the Title IX Coordinator.
Title IX Coordinator
Tiffany B. Cox
Phone: (901) 843-3354
Notifying the Title IX Coordinator of any incident of alleged Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct will trigger an investigation into the alleged incident
2. Report the incident to any Resident Assistant, Peer Advocate, faculty or staff member. However, the Counseling Center staff, Health Services staff, and the Chaplain are considered “confidential resources” staff.
It is important to know that, with the exception of the “confidential resources” staff listed below in Section XIII.B.1., all Rhodes faculty and staff are Mandatory Reporters and are required by the College to report any knowledge they receive of possible violations of this policy to the Title IX Coordinator. Mandatory Reporters must relay all known information about any reported policy violation, including but not limited to: the names of involved individuals, the nature of the incident, and the time and location of the incident. (See Section X for information about confidential and anonymous reporting.)
All Resident Assistants and members of the Peer Advocate Center are also Mandatory Reporters and are required to report any knowledge of possible violations of the policy to the Title IX Coordinator. No other students are obligated to report knowledge they may have of sexual misconduct, including student employees of Rhodes who are considered students and not staff for purposes of this policy and are not Mandatory Reporters.
Once the Title IX Coordinator learns of any incident of alleged sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct from a Mandatory Reporter, they will initiate an investigation into the alleged incident.
After making a report, an individual may choose to end involvement in the process, may choose to be involved or not be involved in the College’s investigation and any related proceedings, or may choose to file or request a formal Claim and pursue Formal Resolution or, if applicable, an Informal Resolution Conference involving the Respondent.
B. Options Utilizing Confidential Resources. Individuals can confidentially discuss incidents of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct with one of the following College “confidential resources” staff:
- Any member of the Student Health Services staff located at the Moore-Moore Student Health Center - (901) 843-3895;
- Student Counseling Center staff located at the Moore-Moore Student Health Center - (901) 843-3128;
- The Chaplain located in Burrow 102 - (901) 843-3822.
Disclosures made to these confidential resources will be held in strict confidence, and will not constitute a report to Rhodes under this policy. These confidential resources may assist individuals with reporting incidents or filing Claims if, and only if, they are requested to do so by the individual who has reported the sexual misconduct.
Specific and personally identifiable information given to one of these confidential resources will not be disclosed to the Title IX Coordinator without consent. However, in order to assist the College in collecting data and identifying patterns or systematic problems related to sexual violence on and off campus, the “confidential resources” staff will convey general information about the incident (i.e. nature, time and location of incident) to the Title IX Coordinator. In such cases, the College will protect confidentiality and avoid disclosing personally identifiable information about individuals involved in the incident.
C. Options for Notifying Off-Campus Law Enforcement Authorities. Individuals can notify off-campus law enforcement authorities about any incident of alleged sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct, including by dialing (911), calling the Memphis Police Department Sex Crimes Squad at (901) 636-3330, and/or calling the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at (901) 222-4350. Individuals can also contact other law enforcement agencies, depending on the location of the incident. Notifying off-campus law enforcement authorities will not constitute a report to Rhodes under this policy, but it may or may not result in such authorities reporting relevant information back to Rhodes which Rhodes will investigate.
Individuals can request assistance from Rhodes faculty and staff in notifying appropriate law enforcement authorities, which the College will provide. Requesting such assistance from a Mandatory Reporter will constitute a report as described above.
D. Option to Not Report. Individuals can choose not to notify Rhodes or any law enforcement authorities about an alleged incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct.
If an individual wishes to pursue an incident of sexual misconduct or sex/gender discrimination beyond simply reporting it, they may file a Claim. The filing of a Claim means that the individual is asking the College to take further steps beyond the investigation, such as holding a Formal Resolution Hearing to resolve the alleged issue. Any Claimant (i.e., a victim or survivor or someone who has otherwise been directly affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct) may file a Claim, and Rhodes will treat it as such. Any third-party Reporter may request that Rhodes treat their report as a Claim, but that would not make the third-party Reporter into a Claimant.
In order to meet its Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community, the College may also convert any report into a Claim if the College determines that it must take further steps beyond the investigation, such as holding a Formal Resolution Hearing.
- Filing a Claim. Anyone seeking to file a Claim of individual or institutional Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct may do so with the Title IX Coordinator. Claims must be in writing and include all information that the filer believes to be relevant (e.g., time, location and nature of incident, names of individuals involved in or witnesses to the incident, names of other persons affected by the incident, etc.). Alternatively, an individual can also file a Claim by meeting with the Title IX Coordinator and providing a verbal description of the Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct, which the Title IX Coordinator will use to draft a written document that the individual will review, verify and sign to constitute a Claim.
- Action Following the Filing of a Claim. Rhodes will investigate all Claims of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct. Upon the completion of an investigation, the Claim will proceed to a Formal Resolution Hearing before the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board to determine whether the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for having violated this policy except in those circumstances described below. In some instances, an Informal Resolution Conference may be an option for resolving a Claim. (See Section XV.)
- The Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to resolve a Claim without a Formal Resolution Hearing in the following circumstances:
(1) if Rhodes lacks jurisdiction;
(2) if a case involves a Rhodes employee (faculty, staff member or contract services employee), the Title IX Coordinator shall refer the matter to the Chief Human Resources Officer;
(3) if the allegations could not constitute a Policy violation under any alleged circumstances;
(4) if the Claim is eligible for the Informal Resolution process;
(5) if the Claim was filed by a third-party Reporter who reported witnessing sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else, the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to resolve the Claim or to provide modified hearing procedures, particularly to account for the alleged victim’s wishes (e.g., if they do not wish to pursue the Claim as a first-party Claimant);
(6) for matters that do not involve Rhodes employees (faculty, staff member or contract services employee), if either Claimant or Respondent, or both, are not Rhodes students, or cease to be Rhodes students prior to final resolution of the Claim, the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to resolve the Claim or to provide modified hearing procedures;
(7) or, if the Respondent admits responsibility for a violation, the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to resolve the Claim or to provide modified hearing procedures to help the Hearing Board decide appropriate sanctions.
In all circumstances, the Title IX Coordinator shall have authority to impose remedial measures and make accommodations consistent with Section XI below and take other measures consistent the Rhodes Student Handbook; and for employee matters, the Chief Human Resources Officer or the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean of the Faculty shall have authority to take action consistent with the Rhodes College Handbook.
4. A person may withdraw a Claim. If a Claim is withdrawn, Rhodes will treat the withdrawn claim as a report and proceed with an investigation.
Any individual can make an anonymous report of a violation of the College's Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy. An individual may report the incident without disclosing their name, identifying a Claimant or a Respondent, or requesting any action. The College will attempt to investigate all such reports, but depending on the extent of information available about the incident or the individuals involved, the College’s ability to respond to an anonymous report may be limited. The anonymous reporting form can be found on the College’s website (http://handbook.rhodes.edu/title-ix). The Title IX Coordinator will receive the anonymous report and will determine any appropriate steps, including individual or community remedies as appropriate.
The College recognizes that, in some instances, an individual who has been subjected to, or who knows of or has witnessed, an incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct may request that their name not be disclosed or that no investigation or disciplinary action be pursued to address the alleged misconduct. In such instances, the Title IX Coordinator will weigh the request(s) for confidentiality and/or wish not to proceed with disciplinary action against the College's obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, considering many factors, including:
- The seriousness of the misconduct;
- Whether there have been other reports of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct against the Respondent known by the College;
- Whether the Respondent has allegedly threatened further misconduct or violence;
- Whether the misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators;
- Whether the misconduct involved use of a weapon;
- The age of the individual subjected to the misconduct;
- Whether the College possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the misconduct;
- Whether the report reveals a pattern of misconduct at a particular location or by a particular individual or group of individuals; and
- The accused individual's right to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained by the College as an "education record" under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), if applicable.
In all cases of alleged discrimination or misconduct, Title IX allows Rhodes to investigate and take reasonable corrective action. Further, Title IX permits Rhodes to override requests for confidentiality if the Title IX Coordinator determines, subject to the factors listed above, that the College must do so in order to meet the College's Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community. These instances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Please note that the College's ability to investigate and respond fully to an incident may be limited because of requests for confidentiality or to not proceed with disciplinary action.
Pursuant to the Clery Act, as amended by the Violence Against Women Act, Rhodes is required to provide equal access to the Claimant and Respondent to any information related to allegations of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking that will be used during formal or informal disciplinary meetings or hearings.
In an instance where Rhodes determines it must override a request for confidentiality, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the requesting individual prior to making the disclosure. In all instances, members of the Rhodes Community should understand that Title IX prohibits retaliation, and that College officials will not only take steps to prevent retaliation but also take strong responsive action if it occurs.
In cases of reported alleged Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct involving students, the College may implement interim and remedial measures before the final outcome of an investigation or hearing to the extent the College determines such measures are necessary. Some of these remedial measures also may continue in effect after an investigation is closed or as post-hearing sanctions or accommodations. Examples of interim and remedial measures that the College may consider and elect to implement include, but are not limited to:
- providing a campus safety escort to ensure a Claimant can move safely between buildings, classes, dining halls, and activities on campus;
- ensuring that the Claimant and the Respondent do not attend the same classes, seminars, functions, meetings, etc.;
- offering to provide or facilitate the provision of medical, counseling and mental health services, but not necessarily covering the cost of such services;
- reviewing any academic challenges or any disciplinary actions taken against the Claimant to see if there is a causal connection between the events that may have impacted the Claimant;
- changing on-campus living arrangements, when reasonable;
- providing increased monitoring, supervision, or security at locations or activities where the misconduct occurred; or
- limiting the access of the individual accused of the misconduct to certain College facilities until the matter is resolved.
The College may also, upon request, arrange for the re-taking, changing or withdrawing from classes, and in such instances, Rhodes will make every reasonable effort to mitigate any academic or financial penalty for providing such arrangements.
If a Claimant or Respondent withdraws from Rhodes after a report or Claim is filed but before the matter is resolved, the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion on how to proceed with the investigation, its resolution, and any interim or remedial measures. The Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to hold a Respondent’s transcript if they withdraw while a report or Claim is pending, and to not release it to another school until the matter is resolved with or without the Respondent’s participation.
The College may also consider and take interim and remedial measures that affect the broader Rhodes Community and which are aimed to eliminate occurrences of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct and to promote academic and employment environments free of such conduct.
The interim and remedial measures available to the College are short of the sanctions that may be imposed on a Respondent if the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board finds a Respondent to be responsible for violating this policy. For a comparison of available sanctions following a Formal Resolution Hearing, see Sections XVII and XIX.
- Advisors. Both Claimants and Respondents may choose an Advisor to accompany them to any hearing, conference, or related disciplinary proceeding described in this policy. Advisors can be chosen from among Rhodes’ SMART team or from any other source. Advisors for both Claimants and Respondents may be present during hearings, conferences and related disciplinary proceedings, and they may provide the parties with consultation, assistance and support. However, Advisors are not permitted to directly participate in Formal Resolution Hearings and Informal Resolution Conferences by, for example, making opening or closing statements, presenting evidence, making procedural objections, questioning witnesses, or otherwise actively participating.
- Supporters. Both Claimants and Respondents may also choose a designated Supporter. The role of the Supporter is primarily to provide emotional support during the process by accompanying the Claimant or Respondent to any hearing, conference or related disciplinary proceeding described in this policy. The Claimant and the Respondent may choose any person, regardless of their association with the College, to perform the role of Supporter and to support them through a portion of or the entire process outlined in this policy. Neither party is required to have and be accompanied by a Supporter; however, the College encourages the presence of a Supporter at all stages of the proceedings, including the reporting and investigation stages, in order to provide the Claimant and Respondent with emotional and personal support. The Supporter may be present during any stage of these processes but will not be allowed to make opening or closing statements, present evidence, make procedural objections, question witnesses, or otherwise actively participate during Formal Resolution Hearings and Informal Resolution Conferences.
- Rhodes may limit the quantity of people in attendance at hearings, conferences and related disciplinary proceedings but will not interfere with parties' choices of specific attendees. A fact witness can serve as an Advisor / Supporter and will not be prohibited from testifying as a witness, but they will be subject to Section XVI’s witness sequestration rule and subject to exclusion from most parts of the Hearing. There is no restriction on former Advisors / Supporters testifying as fact witnesses.
This section applies when both parties are students. The student parties are provided the following procedural protections and considerations
- To be given written notice of any charges of alleged violations of this policy;
- To be advised of and review the evidence associated with the case to the extent permitted by law;
- To request a delay of a hearing or conference due to extenuating circumstances, provided that the grant of such request is in the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator;
- To challenge the objectivity of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board's chairperson or a Hearing Board member upon the belief that a bias or conflict of interest may exist;
- To admit responsibility for any or all charges of alleged violations of this policy;
- To decline to make statements;
- To present their version of the events in question;
- To have witnesses present factual information on their behalf (character witnesses are not permitted);
- To be advised by and/or receive assistance in preparing their case from an Advisor prior to any hearing or conference;
- To be accompanied by a Supporter; and
- To appeal the decision rendered following a hearing within the limits of the time and conditions specified in this policy.
This section applies when both parties are students. The College has discretion to apply these provisions when one or both parties are neither students nor a faculty, staff member or contract services employee (e.g., when one party is a former student or is not enrolled at or employed by Rhodes). If the Respondent is a faculty member, staff member or contract services employee, the Title IX Coordinator will refer the case to the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of the Faculty and/ or the Chief Human Resources Officer for investigation, and it will be adjudicated under the employee discipline policies for faculty and staff and as described in the Rhodes College Handbook.
A. General Provisions.
- Rhodes will investigate all reports and Claims of Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct.
- The Associate Dean of Students and/or Title IX Coordinator will facilitate the investigative process from an administrative and logistical standpoint. It is anticipated that Title IX Coordinator will be the interface with the Claimant and Respondent through the investigation and resolution of a report or Claim from start to finish.
- Most investigations into incidents of alleged Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct will be completed within sixty (60) calendar days, excluding any appeal(s). The amount of time needed to investigate a report or Claim will depend in part on the nature of the allegation(s) and the evidence to be investigated (e.g., the number and/or availability of witnesses involved).
- Rhodes will make reasonable efforts to balance and protect the rights of the parties during any investigation commenced under this policy. Rhodes will respect the privacy of the parties and any witnesses in a manner consistent with the College's obligations to investigate the alleged incident, take appropriate interim and/or corrective action, and comply with any discovery or disclosure obligations required by law.
- Pursuing a report or Claim under this policy does not affect a Claimant’s ability to pursue a criminal action against the individual accused of the misconduct through the criminal justice system. An individual who has been subjected to Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct may choose to file a report or Claim under this policy, pursue remedies through the criminal justice system, or both. To the extent allowed by law, Rhodes will cooperate with any other ongoing College or criminal investigations of the incident.
- Rhodes will keep the parties reasonably informed of the status of the investigation. If it is determined that more time is needed for the investigation, Rhodes will communicate the additional estimated amount of time needed to complete the investigation.
- Any reoccurrences of conduct found to have violated this policy or any other related concerns should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator.
B. Allegations of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct:
- Promptly following the filing of a Claim or the receipt of a report by the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator will schedule separate, individual meetings with the Claimant and the Respondent to:
The Title IX Coordinator may also schedule a meeting with a third-party Reporter to discuss some of the above information, as appropriate..
- Provide the parties with a general explanation of the College's procedures for handling reports and Claims of incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct, the College's prohibition against retaliation, and the investigative process;
- Discuss and/or provide written information regarding forms of available support including, if applicable, campus Advisors and on- and off-campus resources;
- Discuss and/or provide written information regarding immediate interventions and potential interim measures;
- Discuss and/or provide written information regarding options and available assistance in changing any accommodations that may be appropriate and reasonably available concerning the individuals' academic, living, transportation and working situations;
- Where applicable, provide information about their rights and the College's responsibilities regarding criminal and civil court proceedings, including protective orders, restraining orders, and no-contact orders;
- Determine if the Claimant wishes to notify law enforcement authorities, wishes to be assisted in notifying law enforcement authorities, or does not wish to notify law enforcement authorities; and
- Provide information about how the College will evaluate requests for and protect confidentiality
- If a Claim has been filed, a Respondent should submit a response within five (5) business days after the meeting with the Title IX Coordinator. The response should be in writing and may admit or deny the allegations and include any facts, evidence or witnesses that can disprove or provide context relevant to the allegations. The written response can also indicate acceptance or rejection of any penalties or remedies, or outline an alternative proposal for redress. Alternatively, a Respondent can also be deemed to provide a written response by meeting with the Title IX Coordinator and providing a verbal description of the items listed above, which the Title IX Coordinator will use to draft a written document that the Respondent will review, verify and sign to constitute their written response. If no response has been received by the Title IX Coordinator from the Respondent within the allotted time, the Title IX Coordinator will send a Notice Of Nonresponse to the Respondent. If no response has been received by the Title IX Coordinator from the Respondent within three (3) business days after issuance of the Notice Of Nonresponse, the Respondent may be deemed to waive participation in the investigation, which in turn may limit the Respondent’s right to present evidence in a Formal Resolution Hearing, as explained in Section XVI. At that point, it will be up to the Respondent to initiate participation in any investigation or hearing. In any event, where the Respondent is a student, the Respondent has the right to remain silent during the investigation and resolution process, without an automatic adverse inference resulting. If the Respondent chooses to remain silent, the investigation may ultimately still proceed and policy violation charges may still result, which may be resolved against the Respondent..
- A Claim investigation will be conducted by an Investigator and may include conducting substantive interviews of the Claimant, the Respondent, and any witnesses; reviewing law enforcement investigation documents, if applicable; reviewing relevant student files; and gathering and examining other relevant documents or evidence. The results of an investigation of a Claim will be presented to the Title IX Coordinator, who will ensure the investigation was prompt, fair, impartial, thorough, and consistent with this policy. The Investigator will then issue a written report to the parties. The parties shall have three (3) business days to respond or object to the report in writing. If warranted based on the party submission(s), the investigator shall conduct further investigation and update the report as necessary. Depending on how the Claim proceeds, the investigation report(s) and the parties’ responses may be presented at a Formal Resolution Hearing and/or may be presented at an Informal Resolution Conference. The investigation file should contain all information gathered during the investigation that is potentially relevant to the alleged misconduct; the investigator should not filter or exclude information unless it is clearly irrelevant or not pertinent to the facts at issue, such as impermissible character evidence.
- If no Claim was filed, and a report of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct is causing the investigation to be initiated, the Title IX Coordinator will be authorized to conduct an initial investigation and to determine whether an Investigator is needed to conduct the equivalent of a Claim investigation because the incident potentially implicates the College’s Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the Rhodes Community. If it does, then the Title IX Coordinator will treat the report as a Claim and initiate a full investigation and then a Formal Resolution Hearing. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the report does not implicate the College’s Title IX obligations, they will be authorized to close the matter. In either instance, the Title IX Coordinator has discretion to keep limited remedial measures in effect.
In cases not involving allegations of Sexual Misconduct (i.e., sexual harassment of a non-physical nature), and as an alternative to a Formal Resolution Hearing, the parties may opt to pursue an Informal Resolution Conference. An Informal Resolution Conference is a remedies-based, non-judicial approach designed to eliminate a potentially hostile working or academic environment. This process aims to assure fairness, to facilitate communication, and to maintain an equitable balance of power between the parties.
The decision to pursue an Informal Resolution Conference may be made when the College has sufficient information about the nature and scope of the reported conduct, activity or behavior as a result of its investigation. In all cases, the College reserves the right to determine following an investigation whether the College must proceed to a Formal Resolution Hearing in order to meet the College's Title IX obligations. Participation in an Informal Resolution Conference is voluntary, and a person making a report of Sex/Gender Discrimination can request to end the conference at any time and return the investigation or proceeding to its pre-conference status. Depending on the form of informal resolution used, it may be possible to maintain anonymity.
With consent of both the Claimant and the Respondent, the Title IX Coordinator handling the case will assign an appropriate member from the Sexual Misconduct and Advisor Response Team(SMART) to act as the facilitator. The facilitator is not an advocate for either the Claimant or the Respondent. The role of the facilitator is to aid in the resolution of problems in a non-adversarial manner.
For cases selected by the College to be resolved through an Informal Resolution Conference:
A. The parties will receive simultaneous written notice of the decision to initiate an Informal Resolution Conference.
B. The parties will have equal opportunity to respond to the evidence presented and to call appropriate and relevant factual witnesses.
C. The parties may be accompanied by an Advisor and/or a Supporter of their choosing, subject to the restrictions contained in the section of this policy governing the selection and use of Advisors and Supporters.
The College will not compel face-to-face confrontation between the parties or participation in any particular form of informal resolution.
The Informal Resolution Conference ends when a resolution has been reached or when the Claimant or the Respondent has decided to end the process. Agreements reached in an Informal Resolution Conference are final and not subject to appeal.
This section applies when both parties are students. It does not apply when one or more of the parties is an employee (faculty, staff member or contract services employee), as employees are subject to the disciplinary processes described in the Rhodes College Handbook. The College has discretion to apply these provisions when one or both parties are neither students nor employees (e.g., when one party is a former student or is not enrolled at or employed by Rhodes).
A. General Provisions
1. A Formal Resolution Hearing is the College's formal disciplinary proceeding through which the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board evaluates evidence related to a Claim to determine whether a Respondent is responsible or not responsible for a violation of this policy, based on the criteria of “a preponderance of evidence”. If the Respondent is found in violation of this policy, the Respondent may be subjected to disciplinary action.
2. At least ten business days prior to a hearing, both parties and the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board will be provided access to a hearing packet containing the investigation report and other information pertinent to the hearing. The packet must not be copied and must be returned at the end of the proceeding because it typically will contain other parties’ confidential and FERPA-protected information. Additionally, receipt of the hearing packet is conditioned on each recipient’s agreement not to re-disclose or use other people’s confidential information, learned as a result of the investigation or proceeding, outside of such forums without express consent or for any improper purpose.
3. It is each party’s responsibility to call their own witnesses. The parties must give at least three days’ notice prior to the hearing of who their attendees and witnesses will be and the witnesses’ expected sequence, so the other party can be prepared. The parties will not be strictly bound to their lists, but they should be submitted in good faith.
The Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Chair of the Hearing Board, shall have discretion to exclude purely-character witnesses or other witnesses based on investigation results that show their expected testimony is not relevant to the facts at issue in the hearing. The parties may object to such a determination, but the Title IX Coordinator shall have ultimate discretion on this issue. The default position shall be to permit all witnesses desired by the parties in case they have relevant testimony, but that their testimony may be truncated at the hearing if it proves to not be relevant to the facts at issue.
When necessary for the pursuit of truth, the Hearing Board shall have discretion to ask the Title IX Coordinator to request additional witnesses after receipt of the parties’ witness lists. Typically, however, the parties shall be in charge of choosing and supplying their own witnesses.
4. All hearings under this section will be recorded and closed to the public. The admission of any person to the hearing will be at the discretion of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board’s chairperson; however, the Claimant and the Respondent will have the same opportunities to have others present. Rhodes may limit the number of people in attendance at hearings, conferences and related disciplinary proceedings but will not interfere with parties' choices of specific attendees.
5.Legal rules of evidence or criminal or civil procedure will not apply.
6. A Claimant does not need to be present at the hearing as a prerequisite to proceed with the hearing. If the Claimant chooses to be present at such hearing, they will not be required to be present for the entire hearing. The Respondent may also choose not to be present for the entire hearing. When requested, the Board's chairperson will make arrangements so that the Claimant and the Respondent do not have to be present in the same room at the same time, but each party shall have the right to hear and see all witnesses’ testimony via electronic means, such as videoconference or skype.
That said, the hearing is the opportunity for the Claimant and the Respondent to provide their facts and evidence to the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board, and a Claimant or Respondent who fails to appear after having received proper notice of a hearing will be deemed to have waived any right to personally present any evidence during the hearing and any subsequent appeal. Others may present evidence related to their case, such as the Investigator or fact witnesses, only during the Formal Resolution Hearing.
7. In all cases, the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board must consider evidence presented by the Claimant, the Respondent, the Investigator and/or others and determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether a violation of this policy occurred, i.e., whether it is more likely than not that a Respondent violated this policy.
8. Decisions made in a Formal Resolution Hearing may be appealed as described in the Appeal Section of this policy.
B. The Formal Resolution Hearing and Determinations of Responsibility
1. At the Formal Resolution Hearing, the Investigator may give a statement containing a summary of their factual findings, and each party will have the option to provide an introduction and an opening statement, summarizing their position.
2. Each party will be permitted to call their own witnesses. Witnesses will be asked to affirm adherence to the Honor Code. Prospective witnesses, other than the Claimant and the Respondent, may be excluded from the hearing during the statements of the Investigator and other witnesses. The Board will not consider information from character witnesses or character testimony.
3. The Board, the Claimant and the Respondent will have an opportunity to question witnesses who appear at the hearing. Questions by the Claimant and the Respondent should be directed to the Board Chair, who will facilitate the questioning of all witnesses, including the investigator. Typically, the Board will ask its own questions first, then the questions of the party whose witness it is, then the questions of the other party. The Board Chair will be responsible for ensuring the questioning is fair and complies with the terms of this policy, but will not otherwise substantively limit the scope of the parties’ questions unless they seek to elicit solely character evidence, irrelevant information, unduly cumulative evidence, or have the effect of impermissibly badgering or harassing the witness. Questions about the parties’ sexual history with anyone other than each other are expressly prohibited during the hearing phase, but if the Respondent is found in violation of the policy, Respondent’s past sexual misconduct may be subject to inquiry in connection with determining potential sanctions.
4. The Board may, in its discretion, exclude or grant lesser weight to last-minute information or evidence introduced at the hearing that was not previously presented for investigation by the Investigator.
5. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Investigator may give a closing statement and each party will have an opportunity to provide a closing statement at their option.
6. All parties, the witnesses and the public will be excluded during Board deliberations, which will not be recorded or transcribed.
C. Notices of Outcome
1. Within three (3) business days following the completion of the hearing, the Title IX Coordinator will simultaneously provide the Claimant and the Respondent a written notice of the outcome of the hearing, the applicable sanctions (if any), and the appeals procedure. This Outcome Letter will be provided to the Claimant and Respondent by personal delivery or email (with automated return receipt). The Claimant and Respondent will be deemed to have received the Outcome Letter on the date of delivery.
2. To ensure that the recommended sanctions are enforced and/or corrective action is taken, in cases where the Respondent is a student, the Outcome Letter will also be provided to the Associate Dean of Students.
A. Criteria for Determining Sanctions. When determining sanctions for an individual found in violation of this policy, the following criteria will be considered, among other factors:
1. The nature, circumstances, and severity of the violation(s);
2. The College’s responsibility to ensure the effectiveness of these behavioral standards for the Rhodes community;
3. The impact of the violation(s) on the Claimant and the community; protection of the College community and the risk that a Respondent may create a hostile and intimidating environment.
4. The requests of the Claimant;
5. The level of cooperation and/or honesty of the Respondent, or lack thereof, during the disciplinary processes;
6. Any official college report including, but not limited to, disciplinary records, criminal records if known, or other official information, the relevance of which will be determined by the Hearing Board, may be used in determining the sanction.
7. Whether other judicial measures have been taken to protect the Claimant or discipline the Respondent (e.g., civil protection orders);
8. The housing and course enrollment pattern of the Claimant, giving due regard to the principle that the student found responsible for misconduct under this policy should bear the burden of accommodating the Claimant and not the reverse;
9. If determinable and relevant to the underlying policy violation, the presence of bias on account of race, ethnicity, color, religion, political views, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability, citizenship status, or military/veteran status as a motivation in the Sexual Misconduct.
After taking into account the above considerations, the Hearing Board will determine the sanctions for a Respondent found in violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. If a Respondent is found in violation of the policy but is not sanctioned with expulsion, the Hearing Board should strongly consider requiring sexual assault education or related assessments.
If a student is determined, by a preponderance of the evidence, to have committed rape as defined below in accordance with Tennessee law, they shall be expelled and shall receive a lifetime ban from campus. If a student is determined, by a preponderance of the evidence, to have committed non-consensual sexual penetration, the recommended sanction is expulsion, but the Hearing Board is free to consider mitigating factors and lesser sanctions. However, the sanction shall be expulsion for a Respondent determined to have committed non-consensual sexual penetration where the Respondent has previously been found in violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy for non-consensual sexual penetration or the Respondent is determined to have used physical force or threat, or deliberately incapacitated the Claimant, to conduct the violation.
B. Sanctions. The following sanctions may be imposed upon any student found to have violated College policies:
1. Warning: After a judicial conference or hearing, the hearing officer or body may believe the appropriate lesson has been learned and conclude the matter with a formal letter of warning.
2. Disciplinary Probation: A written notification for violation of specified regulations. Probation is designated for a specified period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or expulsion, if the student is found to violate any institutional regulation(s) during the probationary period. Students can be placed on disciplinary or housing probation.
You are considered not in good social standing with the College. Good Standing may be required for participation in certain campus activities. In addition, students not in good standing may have their conduct reviewed for leadership or employment positions on campus.
3. Continued Sexual Assault Education: Attending or participating in a required number, determined by the Hearing Board, of educational and/or awareness programs at Rhodes College relating to the Sexual Misconduct, and providing evidence of engaging in the program.
4. Deferred Suspension: You cannot represent the institution on or off campus in any capacity. Examples include, but are not limited to: competition in varsity athletics, international programs or activities, executive board member of any student organization, PA, RA, Diplomat, Mock Trial, or Rhodes Ambassador.
5. Loss of Privileges: Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
6. Fines: Previously established and published fines may be imposed.
7. Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage, or injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
8. Discretionary Sanctions: Work assignments, service to the college, education, referral to counseling, required behavioral assessment, or other related discretionary assignments.
9. Residence Hall Suspension: Separation of the student from the residence halls for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified.
10. Residence Hall Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from the residence halls.
11. College Suspension: Separation of the student from Rhodes College for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified.
12. College Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from Rhodes College.
More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation.
A. Timing of and Grounds for Appeal. In cases involving students, within five (5) business days of receipt of the Outcome Letter, the Claimant, Respondent or both may submit a written appeal to the Title IX Coordinator handling their case based only on one or more of the following grounds:
- To determine whether there was a material deviation from the procedural protections provided;
- To consider new facts or information sufficient to alter the decision that were not known or knowable to the appealing party during the time of the hearing;
- To determine whether the decision reached was based on a preponderance of evidence; or
- To determine whether the sanctions were disproportionate to the findings.
The Title IX Coordinator will notify the parties of the filing of the appeal within two (2) business days of receiving all necessary information for processing the appeal.
B. Form and Content of Appeal. Appeals must be made in writing, include the name of the appealing party, and bear evidence that it was submitted by the appealing party. The appeal statement must contain a sufficient description supporting the grounds for appeal. If the grounds for appeal is to consider new facts sufficient to alter the decision that were not known or knowable to the appealing party during the time of the investigation, then the written appeal must include such information. The Title IX Coordinator retains discretion to verify and/or waive minor procedural variations in the timing and content of the appeal submission.
The non-appealing party shall receive a copy of the appeal. The non-appealing party may submit a written statement within ten (10) business days of receipt of the Outcome Letter that may seek to affirm the initial decision and/or respond to the appeal statement
C. Stay of Recommended Corrective Action and Imposition of Interim Measures Pending Appeal. The Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to impose or withhold any applicable sanctions prior to the appeal deadline and prior to the resolution of any appeal. If a Hearing Board determines a Respondent to be in violation of this policy and issues sanctions, but the Title IX Coordinator determines sanctions should be withheld pending the appeal, the Title IX Coordinator shall impose accommodations or other interim measures consistent with the Hearing Board’s determination and that minimize the burden on the Claimant. The Title IX Coordinator may also continue to take interim measures as provided in this policy.
D. Conducting the Appeal. The appeal will be heard and determined by the Appeals Board. The Board is comprised of three members (one of whom will be designated as the Board chairperson), selected from the pool of faculty and staff who are trained to serve on the Sexual Misconduct and Advisor Response Team (SMART). The Appeals Board will consider all information related to the Formal Resolution Hearing, and any written statements received in relation to the appeal, but no other information. The Appeals Board chairperson is authorized to convene an Appeal Hearing (subject to the same procedural safeguards as a Formal Resolution Hearing), or the Appeal Board may determine the appeal based on the existing record. If an appeal hearing takes place, the Claimant and Respondent will not be present at the same time, but both will be given the opportunity to give statements to the Appeal Board.
E. The Appeals Board shall determine whether the Hearing Board made an error on the grounds contained in the appeal statement.
F. Results on Appeal. The Title IX Coordinator will notify both the Claimant and the Respondent within three (3) business days of the decision on appeal in addition to the Associate Dean of Students. The decision on appeal may:
- Affirm a finding of responsibility and the sanction(s);
- Affirm a finding of responsibility and increase or reduce, but not eliminate, the sanction(s);
- Affirm a finding of non-responsibility;
- Reverse a finding of responsibility and the sanction(s);
- Reverse a finding of non-responsibility and impose sanction(s); or
- Remand the case to the Deputy Title IX Coordinator to coordinate further investigation and determination. In such cases, the procedural provisions of this policy will apply.
Following the decision on appeal, the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to extend accommodations consistent with providing support to either or both parties. Such measures shall be consistent with the results of the appeal.
G. Finality of Decisions on Appeal. Decisions on appeal are final and conclusive.
To ensure that sanctions upheld or imposed on appeal are enforced and/or corrective action is taken, notice of the sanctions will be provided to the Associate Dean of Students in cases where the Respondent is a student.
A. For Respondents Classified as Rhodes Faculty Employees: The Respondent will be subject to the investigation authority of the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of the Faculty and the Chief Human Resources Officer under the applicable policies and procedures outlined in the Rhodes College Handbook. Nothing in the Rhodes College Handbook will prevent the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean of the Faculty or Chief Human Resources Officer from conducting or commissioning a prompt, fair and thorough investigation into allegations against the Respondent of a violation of this policy, including but not limited to Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct, or from taking interim measures during an ongoing investigation, sanctions and appeal process. In all cases involving a potential violation of this policy, a preponderance of evidence standard will be applied in determining whether the Respondent is responsible for the alleged violation.
B. For Respondents Classified as Rhodes Staff or Contract Employees. The Respondent will be subject to the investigation authority of the Chief Human Resources Officer under the procedures outlined in the "Employee Discipline and Termination Policy" as set forth in the Rhodes College Handbook. Per the Rhodes College Handbook, sanctions may include one or a combination of the following disciplinary actions:
- Verbal Counseling;
- Written Warning;
- Suspension Without Pay;
- Disciplinary Discharge;
- Immediate Termination;
- Other Sanctions: Other sanctions may be imposed instead of, or in addition to, those specified in subsections (1) through (5) listed above.
Nothing in the Rhodes College Handbook will prevent the Chief Human Resources Officer from conducting or commissioning a prompt, fair and thorough investigation into allegations against a Respondent classified as Rhodes staff or contract employee of a violation of this policy, including, but not limited to Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct, or from taking interim measures during an ongoing investigation. In all cases involving a potential violation of this policy, a preponderance of evidence standard will be applied in determining whether the Respondent is responsible for the alleged violation.
Advisor: Refers to an attorney or a non-attorney advisor who can provide assistance to the Claimant or the Respondent during Formal Resolution Hearings, Informal Resolution Conferences, and any other stage of the processes covered by this policy. The College will provide a list of faculty and staff who have received training to serve as Advisors. Students may choose an Advisor from the Sexual Misconduct and Advisor Response Team(SMART) roster or from any other source of their choosing.
Affirmative Consent: Means an affirmative, conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. All five of the following elements are essential in order to have affirmative consent. If one or more of the following is absent, there is no affirmative consent.
- Consists of Mutually Understandable Communication: Communication regarding consent consists of mutually understandable words and/or actions that indicate an unambiguous willingness to engage in sexual activity. In the absence of clear communication or outward demonstration, there is no consent. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of active response. An individual who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent. Relying solely upon non-verbal communication can lead to a false conclusion as to whether consent was sought or given. Verbal communication is the best way to ensure all individuals are willing and consenting to the sexual activity.
- Informed and Reciprocal: All parties must demonstrate a clear and mutual understanding of the nature and scope of the act to which they are consenting and a willingness to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way.
- Freely and Actively Given: Consent cannot be obtained through the use of force, coercion, threats, intimidation or pressuring, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another individual.
- Not Unlimited: Consent to one form of sexual contact does not constitute consent to all forms of sexual contact, nor does consent to sexual activity with one person constitute consent to activity with any other person. Each participant in a sexual encounter must consent to each form of sexual contact with each participant. Even in the context of a current or previous intimate relationship, each party must consent to each instance of sexual contact each time. The consent must be based on mutually understandable communication that clearly indicates a willingness to engage in sexual activity. The mere fact that there has been prior intimacy or sexual activity does not, by itself, imply consent to future acts.
- Not Indefinite: Consent may be withdrawn by any party at any time. Recognizing the dynamic nature of sexual activity, individuals choosing to engage in sexual activity must evaluate consent in an ongoing manner and communicate clearly throughout all stages of sexual activity. Withdrawal of consent can be an expressed “no” or can be based on an outward demonstration that conveys that an individual is hesitant, confused, uncertain or is no longer a mutual participant. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must cease immediately and all parties must obtain mutually expressed or clearly stated consent before continuing further sexual activity.
Because of the commitment to maintaining an environment that supports Rhodes’ educational mission, the College prohibits romantic, sexual, and exploitative relationships between college employees and students. (See Rhodes College Handbook-Fraternization Policy For Faculty and Staff)
Under Tennessee law, the age of consent varies depending on the age of the partner. Statutory rape occurs if the victim is at least thirteen (13) but less than eighteen (18) years of age, and the defendant is at least four (4) years older than the victim. Statutory rape also occurs if the victim is less than thirteen (13) years of age.
Appeals Board: Refers to a group of trained College faculty and staff members that hears and decides appeals of findings and sanctions imposed by the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board (defined below). The Appeals Board will consist of three members (one of whom will be designated as the board’s chairperson), selected from the pool of faculty and staff who are trained to serve on the Sexual Misconduct and Advisor Response Team (SMART). This three-member board is authorized to affirm, alter, or reverse the original findings and/or sanctions recommended by the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board. Once issued, the Appeals Board’s decision is final..
Claim: Refers to a formal written complaint filed with the Title IX Coordinator or the Title IX Coordinator’s designee alleging any action, policy, procedure or practice that would be prohibited by Title IX, such as Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct, and indicating that they want the College to take further steps beyond the investigation. A Claim may be filed by a Claimant and may be requested by another individual who knows of or witnessed an incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct but who did not suffer such misconduct themselves. A report can also become a Claim if Rhodes determines that, in order to meet its Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community, it must take further steps beyond the investigation, such as holding a Formal Resolution Hearing.
Claimant: Refers to an individual who has been subjected to an incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct that proceeds to a Claim.t.
Clery Act: Refers to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 U.S.C. Section 1092(f); 34 C.F.R., Part 668.46. It requires colleges and universities, both public and private, participating in federal student aid programs to disclose campus safety information, and imposes certain basic requirements for handling incidents of sexual violence and emergency situations.
Coercion: Means the use of pressure to compel another individual to initiate or continue activity against their will, including psychological or emotional pressure, physical or emotional threats, intimidation, manipulation, or blackmail. Coercion is defined under Tennessee law to include a threat of kidnapping, extortion, force or violence to be performed immediately or in the future. A person’s words or conduct are sufficient to constitute coercion if they wrongfully impair another individual’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. Examples of coercion include, but are not limited to threatening to “out” someone based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; threatening to harm oneself if the other party does not engage in the sexual activity; and threatening to expose someone’s prior sexual activity to another person and/or through digital media.
Consent: See Affirmative Consent above
Dating Violence: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection A.
Domestic Violence or Domestic Assault: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection B.
Formal Resolution: Refers to the College's formal disciplinary proceeding through which the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board evaluates evidence related to a Claim to determine whether a Respondent is in violation of this policy, based on the criteria of a preponderance of evidence..
Incapacitation: Means the lack of the ability to make rational, reasonable judgments as a result of alcohol consumption, other drug use, sleep, the taking of any so-called “date-rape” drug, unconsciousness, or blackout. An individual unable to make informed judgments is physically helpless. An incapacitated person cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because that person lacks the ability to fully understand the who, what, where, or how of their sexual interaction. Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication, in which alcohol, drugs, or other factors render one unable to make fully informed judgments or have an awareness of consequences. Evaluating incapacitation also requires an assessment of whether a Respondent knew or should have known of the other individual's incapacitated state. While incapacitation may be caused by drugs or alcohol, it also includes the state of being asleep, during which time a person is unable to provide affirmative consent.
Informal Resolution Conference: Is intended to allow the Claimant and the Respondent to provide information about the alleged incident(s) of discrimination or harassment, and to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. This process aims to assure fairness, to facilitate communication, and to maintain an equitable balance of power between the parties.
Investigator: Refers to an official(s) designated by the Title IX Coordinator to conduct an investigation of alleged Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct, and who acts as a witness in the event of a Formal Resolution Hearing. The Investigator will be a trained individual who objectively collects and examines the facts and circumstances of potential violations of this policy and documents them for review. The Investigator will be neutral and will hold no biases in the investigation.
Mandatory Reporter: Refers to an individual who is obligated to report any knowledge they may have of Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct. Rhodes College defines all faculty and staff as mandatory reporters except certain “confidential resources” staff. (See Section XIII above.) The only students who are designated as Mandatory Reporters are Resident Assistants and members of the Peer Advocate Center.
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection C.
Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection D.
Preponderance of Evidence: Refers to the standard by which it is determined at a hearing whether or not a violation of this policy has occurred, and means that an act of sex discrimination is “more likely than not” to have occurred. This standard applies for all claims of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.
Rape: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection E.
Report: Refers to any communication that puts a Rhodes Mandatory Reporter on notice of an allegation that sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct occurred or may have occurred. Rhodes will investigate all reports it receives of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct. After making a report, an individual may choose to end their involvement in the process there, may choose to be involved or not be involved in the College’s investigation and related proceedings, or may choose to file a formal Claim and pursue Formal Resolution or an Informal Resolution Conference. The College strongly encourages all individuals to report incidents of sexual misconduct and sex/gender discrimination even if the individual does not intend to pursue a Claim.
Reporter: Refers to an individual who notifies a Rhodes Mandatory Reporter of an alleged violation of the Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy. A Reporter can be any individual who reports to Rhodes that they are a victim or survivor of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct; that they have been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, or that they have knowledge of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else.
Respondent: Refers to an individual against whom a Claim has been filed or report has been made and whose conduct is alleged to have violated this policy.
Sex/Gender Discrimination: Refers to the unequal treatment of an individual based on their sex or gender in any employment decision, education program or educational activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Such programs or activities include, but are not limited to, admission, hiring and recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, student treatment and services, counseling and guidance, discipline, classroom assignment, grading, vocational education, recreation, physical education, athletics, housing and employment. The prohibition on sex discrimination also covers unlawful discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions. Also prohibited as sex discrimination is any act which is based on parental, family, or marital status and which is applied differently based on sex.
Sexual Assault: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection F.
Sexual Exploitation: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection G.
Sexual Harassment: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection H.
Sexual Misconduct: Is a broad term that encompasses sexually-motivated misconduct as described in this policy, including conduct of an unwelcome and/or criminal nature, whether such conduct occurs between strangers, acquaintances, or intimate partners. For the purposes of this policy, the following terms are collectively referred to as “Sexual Misconduct” and will be defined in detail below: Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Nonconsensual Sexual Contact, Nonconsensual Sexual Penetration, Rape, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, and Stalking.
A. Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the alleged victim. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on a consideration of the length of the relationship; the type of relationship; and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence. 34 C.F.R. § 668.46. There is no definition of "dating violence" under Tennessee law.
B. Domestic Violence or "Domestic Assault": Under Tennessee law, a person commits domestic assault when they intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury, a reasonable fear of imminent bodily injury or physical contact that would be regarded as extremely offensive or provocative to persons falling within the following categories:
- Adults or minors who are current or former spouses;
- Adults or minors who live together or who have lived together;
- Adults or minors who are dating or who have dated or who have or had a sexual relationship, but does not include fraternization between two individuals in a business or social context;
- Adults or minors related by blood or adoption;
- Adults or minors who are related or were formerly related by marriage; or
- Adult or minor children of a person in a relationship that is described in one of the categories listed above.
C. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: "Sexual contact" is defined under Tennessee law as the intentional touching of another person's intimate parts, or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the other person's intimate parts, if that intentional touching can be reasonably construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. Such contact is deemed non-consensual if done without the other person's affirmative consent (see definition above).
D. Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration: "Sexual penetration" is defined under Tennessee law as sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or any other intrusion, however slight, by any part of a person's body or by any object into the genital or anal openings of any other person's body. Such contact is deemed non-consensual if done without the other person's affirmative consent (see definition above).
E. Rape: is defined under Tennessee law as the unlawful Sexual Penetration of a person accompanied by any of the following circumstances:
- Force or coercion is used to accomplish the act;
- The act is accomplished without the other person's consent and the perpetrator knows or has reason to know at the time of the penetration that the person did not consent;
- The perpetrator knows or has reason to know that the person is mentally or physically incapacitated or helpless; or
- The act is accomplished by fraud.
F. Sexual Assault: Is defined as any type of sexual conduct, activity or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient of the unwanted sexual conduct, activity or behavior, and includes forced sexual intercourse, sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, rape, attempted rape, statutory rape, sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery.
G. Sexual Exploitation: Occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or the benefit of anyone other than the one being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
- Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity or other private activity, even if that activity occurs in a public or semi-public place;
- Non-consensual dissemination of video, photographs, or audio of sexual activity or other private activity, including dissemination by a third party or a person not involved in the original conduct;
- Exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as, permitting others to hide in a closet and observe consensual sexual activity, videotaping of a person using a bathroom or engaging in other private activities);
- Engaging in voyeurism, exposing one’s breasts, buttocks, or genitals in a non-consensual circumstance or inducing another to expose their breasts, buttocks, or genitals without affirmative consent;
- Prostituting another person;
- Engaging in consensual sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD or STI,) and without informing the other person of such disease or infection; and
- Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying.
H. Sexual Harassment: Conduct that is sexual in nature, is unwelcome and interferes with a Rhodes College community member’s ability to perform a job, participate in activities, and/or participate fully in the college’s education programs. It is a form of misconduct that is demeaning to others and undermines the integrity of the employment relationship and/or learning environment. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal, written, or electronic communication of a sexual nature when: (1) Submission to that conduct or communication is made a term or condition, explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining employment or education; (2) Submission to or rejection of that conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s employment or education; or (3) That conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s employment or education, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or educational environment. Sexual harassment may be a one-time event or it may be part of a persistent and pervasive pattern.
Sexual harassment is unlawful and prohibited regardless of whether it is between or among members of the same sex or opposite sex. Sexual harassment may also consist of inappropriate gender-based comments and gender stereotyping. Examples of conduct constituting sexual harassment and which could create a hostile environment include, but are not limited to:
- Engaging in unlawful conduct based on one's gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, including, but not limited to, acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex/gender or sex/gender-stereotyping, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature;
- Making unwelcome sexual advances, propositions or other sexual or gender-based comments, such as sexual or gender-oriented gestures, sounds, remarks, jokes or comments about an individual's gender, sex, sexuality or sexual experiences;
- Requesting sexual favors, or engaging in other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature;
- Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual's body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, or suggestive or obscene letters, notes, drawings, pictures or invitations, or through digital media ;
- Conditioning any aspect of an individual’s employment or academic participation on their response to sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature;
- Creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or academic environment through digital media or by sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; and
- Conduct that is criminal in nature, such as rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexually motivated stalking and other forms of sexual violence.
I. Sexual Violence: Consists of physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the student’s age or use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the student from having the capacity to give consent). A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including, but not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.
J. Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others, or to suffer substantial emotional distress. Under Tennessee law, stalking means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested. The phrase "course of conduct" means a pattern of direct or indirect conduct composed of a series of two (2) or more separate non-continuous acts evidencing a continuity of purpose, including but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
Types of stalking could include, but are not limited to:
- Following the targeted person;
- Approaching or confronting that person in a public place or on private property;
- Persistent and unwelcome attempts to contact the person by phone, electronic communication (including via the internet and cellphones), or regular mail, either anonymously or non-anonymously;
- Vandalizing the person’s property or leaving unwanted items for the person;
- Persistently appearing at the person’s classroom, residence, or workplace without that person's permission or other lawful purpose;
- Cyber-stalking, in which a person follows, observes, monitors, or surveils another person through the use of electronic media such as the Internet, digital media networks, blogs, cell phones, texts or other similar devices; and
- Using visual or audio recording devices or hidden or remote cameras used without the subject’s consent.
Sexual Misconduct and Advisor Response Team(SMART): Refers to the pool of faculty and staff members who are trained to serve in various roles under this policy, including as Advisors for the Claimant or Respondent, as members of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board, or as members of the Appeals Board. To avoid potential conflicts of interest, an individual from the Sexual Misconduct and Advisor Response Team(SMART) is limited to serving only one role during proceedings associated with a report or Claim and any related reports or Claims.
Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board: Refers to the three-member decision-making body composed of College faculty and staff, who serve on the Sexual Misconduct and Advisor Response Team (SMART), that considers cases brought under this policy. Each particular Hearing Board is constituted, as needed, from the available pool of faculty and staff who are trained to serve as Advisors and Board members. One of the three Board members will be designated as the chairperson. The Hearing Board hears the facts and circumstances of an alleged policy violation as presented by the Investigator, a Claimant, a Respondent and/or witnesses at a Formal Resolution Hearing. This body is responsible for determining if a policy violation has occurred and whether/what sanctions are appropriate.
Sexual Violence: See Sexual Misconduct above, Subsection I.
Stalking: See Sexual Misconduct above, Subsection J.
Supporter: Refers to any person, regardless of their association with the college, who a Reporter, Claimant, or Respondent may want to support them through a portion of or the entire process. A Supporter is not required, but is encouraged to help the party with emotional and personal support. When present during interviews, hearings, and appeals, the Supporter cannot take an active role. A supporter can be a friend, family member, or any trusted person who can provide needed care to a party.
Title IX: Refers to a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Title IX prohibits the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and provides individual citizens effective protection against those practices. Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of federally funded education programs or activities. In addition to traditional educational institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools, Title IX also applies to any education or training program operated by a recipient of federal financial assistance.